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The Importance of Color Psychology in Design

Have you ever wondered why certain colors are used for different brands? All these choices are intentionally made by the designer to evoke certain emotions and behavioral responses from people, depending on how they are used.

Popular Examples

Let’s look at some examples in the real world.

Red is primarily used to grab attention. Its psychological associations are usually passion, energy, love, danger, and excitement.

Blue is used in many corporate logos. This is because blue is associated with calmness, trust, professionalism, and stability. Ever notice how many I.T. companies have blue integrated into their branding?

Yellow is used to evoke happiness, optimism, joy, and warmth. It’s commonly used in marketing, often to convey a cheerful and inviting atmosphere. Does it remind you of a certain Scandinavian Furniture company?

Green is commonly used for emphasizing growth, nurturing, harmony, and health. We also often relate it back to nature, sustainability, and eco-friendliness. Depending on what you want, green can also be used to help create a more tranquil environment.

Black is sophisticated, powerful, mysterious, and elegant. It’s commonly used in luxury brands to convey inclusivity.

White is purity, simplicity, cleanliness, and innocence. It’s often used in healthcare spaces to suggest cleanliness and a sterile environment. The stark white walls of a hospital room were a very intentional choice and not because they didn’t want to add any color.

Remember, culture also plays a role in the way colors are perceived. While we may see Red as passion and energy, in China, Red represents luck and happiness. As a designer, it is our job to guide our clients through these decisions.

Cerco's Branding

So why did Cerco Design choose the colors we did? This was also done with intentional choices from the design team. As a team, we sat down for hours looking at different color combinations. We knew what our message was as a Design Agency: to reintroduce the world to the importance of design. We want to remind people why design plays a huge role in the way designers, creators, and artists think.

CERCO also talks about the importance of solidifying your brand message here. Read more about why having a strong foundation for your Brand can help you during the design process.

Our first pick was Red, as mentioned above, represents passion and excitement. Now it was about picking the right kind of red. We thought about saturation, tone, opacity, and use. Now going back to our brand’s message, if we wanted to show people how passionate we were about design, emphasizing that we made design-first approaches to our projects, we knew it had to be well-represented visually.

Our next color was easier to come by. Based on the color psychology we explained above, we knew blue was going to be part of our color palette. Not only are we passionate about the work we create, but we also want our clients to know they can trust us. Our blue is often used as an accent color to help break up the design when needed. We often use this when we want to emphasize certain information, or to lead people’s eyes to certain directions. (It’s all about intention!)

Our last two colors are off-white and off-black. Why is that? Pure black text on pure white backgrounds can cause eye strain when users read the text over extended periods of time. White has 100% color brightness, while black has 0%. The contrast between these two can overstimulate the eyes when you look for too long. If you want real life examples of this design technique being utilized, let’s look at Apple’s branding.

Its infamous black and white aesthetic emphasizes its luxury. Their website uses black and white as their main colors. Imagine how difficult it would be to keep people browsing through your products if they were having difficulty reading the information. Their monochromatic approach to design (on their website) creates a clean, modern, and sophisticated look, reflecting the brand’s design and message.

Need help trying to figure out your brand’s colors? Contact us today! We’d be happy to guide you.

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